Subject: Re: Lisp Jobs From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 1998/08/21 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Mark Conlin <email@example.com> | Is it possiblt to get a job writing Lisp code? yes, but the Lisp code itself is not the real issue -- solving problems that are intractable or unaffordable without Lisp is one. another is making functionally sophisticated solutions available for less money than the often graphically sophisticated but otherwise trivial solutions that the market is choked with. | Do any of you write LISP code for a living? yes. for the past two years, now, I haven't had to work in any of the languages _claimed_ to be the customer's choice, such as C++ or Perl. (I have instead replaced half-working solutions in those languages with fully functional solutions in Common Lisp.) | Who do you work for? various parts of the financial markets in Oslo, from the Stock Exchange to a financial news agency. I do servers and fundamental technology, not user interface stuff. it would have been called "systems programming" a few years ago. unlike what many appear to believe, traditional "systems programming" languages, such as C, C++, Perl, etc, are unsuited for their tasks, but it takes a change of focus on your problems to see why they actually _fail_ to deliver, despite their overwhelming "success stories". systems programming is about providing services to a host of applications, but as applications change, they pose new demands on the system, which it needs to adapt to provide. when the application programmer instead has to turn to systems-level hackery to get a needed service, we're not talking about "powerful" languages because they can do this, we're talking about _dirt_poor_ languages that make you _have_ to in the first place. Common Lisp provides a means to make very powerful abstractions available as services to people who really care about correctness and speed in the right places, and to adapt them quickly while maintaining the correctness. the markets where this is true are not the markets to which Microsoft is selling its shoddy software, and thus it takes a little effort to find it and also some experience to answer their cries for help, but only when you start to see what kind of problems _vanish_ when you program in Common Lisp, can you appreciate why people are still struggling with so many _unsolved_ problems elsewhere, employing ever more C++ programmers to keep the _real_ problems unsolved and cure only obvious symptoms. as you can imagine, once you get people to believe that _only_ the symptoms can be cured and that the problems are fundamentally unsolvable, you will have a wonderful marketplace that never runs dry of the trivial problems you get more and more experience "solving" over and over again. if you _really_ solve a problem, you won't need to solve it again. there's no market in that. in fact, there's unemployment in that for at least half the software industry, and although most of the people who would be out of work are young and smart enough to make a living doing something else, they will still resist you with everything they got, and invent problems that only they can solve with their particular tools and mindset. the funny part is that it isn't hard to find people who will listen, but you cannot talk to the masses. it's got to be a few people at a time, because this is about losing one's religion -- the false belief that no software can ever satisfy the customer's demands, the ever increasing false belief in promises of the next version ("life after death", "for our children's children", etc), and the ever increasing attitude that the last version was a piece of shit. losing that religion is hard for many people -- it'a too easy to believe that what you promise those who would shuffle off the upgrade coil is just another religion, but if you get really good software, you don't need to upgrade, and the software stays current and valuable for years to come. Common Lisp is like that. you just have to find people who don't _expect_ to throw your software out mere months after they got it. that's who Lisp programmers work for. incidentally, I believe Microsoft has a world-wide campaign these days (at least they have a campaign in Norway that looks like those dubbed commercials for shampoo and toothpaste and whatever that fit Europe in general but no country in particular) in which we are told that "Windows 98" is a medicine against headaches. _which_ headache? wasn't it sold to the target audience by Microsoft itself under the name "Windows 95"? #:Erik -- http://www.naggum.no/spam.html is about my spam protection scheme and how to guarantee that you reach me. in brief: if you reply to a news article of mine, be sure to include an In-Reply-To or References header with the message-ID of that message in it. otherwise, you need to read that page.